While yoga has been a known practice for thousands of years in many parts of the Eastern world, it has just started to become a widely practiced phenomenon in the Western during the last few decades. My journey with yoga initially brought me to a type of hot yoga, known as Moksha Yoga, and in this essay I will share with you about this form of yoga and my experience with it.
Today, there are numerous yoga styles out there, as many teachers who personally identified with it, evolved it into their own version. And while the names may be different, in essence and at its core, yoga is yoga. The differences are apparent in the pace it is done at, the sequence of postures, and the environment it is done in. Thus, there is a yoga style that is sure to please everyone.
My personal experience with yoga has been dabbling in some poses from time to time, informally at home. That was until I was recommended to try Moksha Yoga.
While the poses may be similar to many other yoga types, what separates Moksha Yoga from the rest, is that it is done in the heat and with a specific style that follows a very beneficial sequence for a total mind, body and soul health experience.
The History of Moksha Yoga
Moksha Yoga is a form of hot yoga that was created by Ted Grand and Jessica Robertson in 2003.
The vision of the above two individuals, who were both well trained in yoga, has since grown into a worldwide community with classes in Hong Kong, Taipei, England, Trinidad, Singapore, Thailand and across Canada and the USA. See here for Moksha Yoga world locations.
Moksha Yoga includes a group of independent hot yoga studios committed to ethical, compassionate and environmentally conscious living. The Moksha community is strongly rooted in environmentalism. Each studio is required to meet compulsory environmental standards. Collectively they strive to communicate that the benefits of yoga are limitless and accessible to all.
Moksha means “release” or “liberation.” It is with this message that each class takes you through a series of strengthening and toning postures in the detoxifying calm of a heated studio. The yoga is done usually in an environment of about 40 degrees Celsius, and a humidity ranging around 30-50%.
Moksha Yoga studios offer “Karma Classes” which are done on a donation basis, they also offer an “Energy Exchange” program where time volunteered at the studio allows for unlimited yoga and many special events. Each Moksha teacher undergoes rigorous training that is being acclaimed worldwide.
Moksha Yoga has also developed a partnership with the Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Centre Foundation to develop a national campaign entitled, “The Power of Movement.”
My History With Moksha Yoga
In expressing a desire to begin to practice yoga regularly, back in 2009 a friend recommended that I check out Moksha Yoga. Knowing very little about yoga, I just thought it was the name of a particular yoga studio, not realizing that it is an amazing Canadian-based yoga company that is growing in reputation and popularity by the day, world wide.
Even though I heard about it in March of that year, it took me until the end of November to try my first class. But since then I was instantly hooked. I attended classes at a local studio for almost 6 months straight, on average 3 times per week. I would have so gladly continued, but I was moving out of the area in late spring of 2010. Unfortunately where I was moving to there was no Moksha Yoga studio. In fact, there were no yoga studios whatsoever. However, wherever I travel down to urban areas I now always keep an eye out for Moksha Yoga studios, to do a class whenever I can. I trust and love what they stand for, and it just feels SO good!
The main studio I had the pleasure of attending was the Moksha Yoga Burlington location, and its energy was just phenomenal! From the owners to all the teachers I had the pleasure of meeting, it is perhaps one of best experiences one can have when tuning the mind, body and soul. A beautiful environment, for a beautiful practice.
Over those first 6 months, it was absolutely incredible watching my body transform, as I activated and toned muscles I almost never knew I had. The relaxation, flexibility and detoxification benefits have also been amazing!
With any hot yoga studio, one has to consider the cleanliness and sanitary conditions. This is where Moksha also excels, as they have every detail covered. From sustainable cork flooring to triple filtered water. There are no carpets or other similar materials, which is extremely important when the temperatures are turned up and sweat is literally pouring into it daily. There are also no chemicals used, whether for cleaning or other tasks and most studios run on Bullfrog Power – 100% green electricity.
Being a “green” oriented line of studios was also an important aspect for me, as today I choose to support with every decision I make and dollar I spend, companies that have the environment and sustainability in mind. I was thoroughly impressed with how the Moksha studios operate on every level!
The Benefits of Moksha Yoga
The benefits of hot yoga are numerous, and perhaps too many to list here, so I will just outline some of the major ones.
First, there is of course the actual benefits of yoga. Whether done in the heat or under regular temperatures, the postures work to enhance the balance, tone, endurance, flexibility and strength of the body. In the heat, this happens even better, as the muscles are warmer and thus allow for a greater range of motion.
Yoga also has incredibly relaxing properties, teaching us how to breathe properly, slow down our thoughts and merge closer with the core of our being. Thus, it is a true treat for the mind and soul!
Secondly, as there is an immense amount of heat, sweating is inevitable. This provides for an incredible and very necessary detoxification. Proper breathing alongside this, also accelerates the release of toxins from within our body. The lymphatic system is stimulated and the immune system enhanced. There is also the added benefit of sweating and burning calories, which can result in weight loss.
There are also of course, as with any physical movement cardiovascular benefits. Movement, muscle use and proper breathing strengthen the heart and enhance many aspects of our cardiovascular system.
Moksha yoga is extremely beneficial for the musculo-skeletal system. Whether you have back pain, muscle weakness, or bone loss, the variety and type of postures can promote healing and necessary strengthening. Ultimately, it provides for an amazing, total body workout.
Moksha Yoga has also been acknowledged for improving sleep, increasing energy levels and simply promoting a better overall feeling.
Lastly, Moksha Yoga provides for numerous other physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits. Which benefits you experience, will depend on your personal needs. You can read about more of the benefits associated with Moksha Yoga.
In the end if you have never tried yoga, and are still wondering what all the hype is about out there, I invite you to check out a yoga studio near you. Allow yourself to walk in with an open mind and heart, and feel the benefits that it has for you on so many different levels.
If of course you are lucky enough to have a Moksha Yoga studio in your area, and are open to trying yoga the hot way, immerse yourself in its benefits for your health and vitality today, and all your tomorrows to come.
No matter where I am, Moksha Yoga will always be a part of me!